Length: ~ 5 km round trip, 1 hour to 90 minutes
Trail conditions: Moderately flat with some inclines, gravel path and dirt path
Bikes: Not allowed
Dogs: Allowed on-leash
Parking: Parking lot just off River Valley Road
Whitemud Ravine is a nature reserve in the heart of the city, complete with old-growth forest, over 150 species of birds and several species of wildlife. Despite its proximity to busy roads like Whitemud Drive and 23 Ave, it’s a great place to distance yourself from the bustle of the city, bird watch, and of course, #trekthetrails. We’re always a fan of a dirt path over a paved one — really makes you feel like you’re not in the city anymore! Also, given you are in some thick woods, don’t forget your bug spray in summer time — when we tested this route in late May, we got eaten alive.
The ravine stretches further north and south from this route as well, so you have the option to make this trail last even longer. We wrote about a section of the Whitemud Ravine system (and another nature reserve), Larch Sanctuary, as well as the north section on previous blogs.
Park at the lot just off Rainbow Valley Road, before you reach Snow Valley.
1. After parking at Rainbow Valley Road, head generally south on the trail towards the creek and ravine.
2. You’ll cross a footbridge fairly quickly, the first of several that cross over Whitemud Creek.
3. Enjoy the tall trees of this old growth forest and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife.
4. One footbridge is under construction and isn’t completely finished; practice caution while crossing.
5. In springtime, the creek moves quite quickly from spring run-off and rain. You may even see some paddlers!
6. After 1 km, you’ll reach your first fork. Follow the sign for Aspen Gardens, not Bulyea.
7. The next fork is at 1.6 km – follow signs for Ogilvie Ridge, not Westbrook Estates.
8. If the signage is faded or unclear, consult the AllTrails map and compass to ensure you’re walking in the right direction.
9. Walk another 500 m. You will reach a lookout point and a set of stairs. To make this route around 5 km, we turned around at the stairs, but you could continue walking all the way to 23 ave, and beyond to MacTaggart sanctuary.
10. Return to Rainbow Valley road the same way you came.
Trail Map (source: AllTrails)